My first impression of Sapporo is that it is very similar to New York. The city is designed in square grids of building blocks, with traffic junctions every few hundred meters. While the main roads are dual carriage, most roads are single carriageway which makes driving in Sapporo for a new comer very confusing.
Our drive into the city was made worse by the fact that we were not familiar with our GPS. Our hotel showed up clearly in the GPS but to reach it, we had to made a huge loop. Adding to our woe is that the nearest parking may not be the most economical. We had to drive a distance away just to park our car – each time mentally adding up the charges whenever we passed a parking lot – before 8am, after 8 pm, max 24 hour charges etc.Our hotel was located near the main JR station. In actual fact, there was no need for a car. We were within walking distance from all the main attractions – namely the Odori Park, Sapporo Clock Tower and Former Hokkaido Office Building. The buildings were built in the 1800’s and are of American neo-baroque design, something rarely seen in other parts of Japan. We were however more impressed with the flowers – sakura trees, tulips, pansies decorated the landscape, something rarely seen in tropical Singapore…or KL for that matter. A short distance from the main town centre is the Sapporo Beer Museum. The red-brick building houses the original wort kettle and gives visitors an introduction to Sapporo City with its miniature models.
At the canteen, one can order samplers of various beers to try.The English-speaking guide kindly provided six extra glasses for us to share these three samplers.
To us, Sapporo is just like any city. We couldn’t wait to embark on our journey to see the rest of Hokkaido.